Happy New Year! My Heart Belongs to Haiti This Month!

Happy New Year All!

It’s been a few weeks since I last posted.  Why? Digital Sisterhood Month!  31 days of celebrating women online and the connections they make, conversations they have, communities they build, causes they support, collaborative partnerships they establish, and commerce they engage in with women they meet online and offline. Visit the Digital Sisterhood Network web site to learn more.

This month my heart belongs to Haiti because I want to honor the resiliency of the Haitian people who experienced a devastating earthquake on January 12, 2010.  Last year I taught an online yoga class for Yoga Day USA that was dedicated to the people of Haiti. At the beginning of the class, I asked viewers to donate money to Doctors Without Borders to support their work in Haiti. Click here to watch the video.

This year I am serving as an ambassador for the Heart of Haiti campaign, a Macy’s partnership that was created to provide sustainable income to Haitian artisans impacted by the January earthquake.  Read my November 29th post to learn more. Also, listen to the following December episodes of Digital Sisterhood Radio that mention my work with the Heart of Haiti campaign:

  • December 20th show featuring ‘Digital Native’ Lauren Thomas, founder of Digital Aftershock: I discussed how I met Lauren Thomas, former Digital Coordinator of Everywhere, at the Heart of Haiti booth during Blogalicious 2010 and had a powerful conversation that convinced me to sign up for the campaign.  I also shared how I interviewed Lauren about the Heart of Haiti campaign with my cell phone for my Cinchcast audio blog at Blogalicious.
Water Carriers by Dr. Lois Mailou Jones, Haiti 1985 - acrylic, 25 ¼ x 19 ¾ in.

 

I almost forgot to mention that I organized a Digital Sisterhood Month field trip for DC area  women in social media to visit the National Museum of Women in the Arts on December 3 to see the “Lois Mailou Jones: A Life in Vibrant Color” exhibit.  During her lifetime, Dr. Jones (born November 3, 1905 – died June 9, 1998), a Howard University art professor (one of my favorite artists), created a body of artwork that was inspired by Haiti and her marriage to Haitian artist Louis Vergniaud Pierre-Noel.  One of my greatest treats was showing the women who attended the museum field trip some of my favorite Haitian-inspired paintings created by Dr. Jones.  Check out the amazing “Water Carriers” painting on the left side of the blog post.

What do you think?

I LOVE IT and HAITI!

Drop by my blog this week and next week for more posts about my passion for Haiti and work with the Heart of Haiti campaign!

Enjoy your day and week!

Opening Your Heart to Haiti: I am a Heart of Haiti Ambassador

Happy Sunday!

Guess what?  I am a Heart of Haiti Ambassador!  You may be wondering what is the Heart of Haiti?  The Heart of Haiti campaign is a Macy’s partnership that was created to provide sustainable income to Haitian artisans impacted by the January earthquake.  Through the partnership, the artisans create artwork that is sold as the Heart of Haiti collection in Macy’s stores.  The sales from these hand-made products including quilts, metalwork, paper måché, painting and jewelry generate the sustainable income and provide trade instead of aid to the Haitian artisans.  The Clinton Foundation inspired Macy’s to create this amazing partnership.  Macy’s is selling the Heart of Haiti collection at 25 stores including the Metro Center location in Washington, DC  (for all my DC area folks) and on macys.com.   

Ananda holding Haitian artwork at Heart of Haiti booth at the Blogalicious Conference held in Miami, FL in October 2010

I learned about the Heart of Haiti campaign during the Blogalicious 2010 Conference held on October 8-10, 2010, in Miami, Florida. During a speed networking session, I met Danica Kombol, a managing and founding partner at Everywhere, who introduced me to the Heart of Haiti Campaign. Click here to listen to my interview with Danica: www.cinchcast.com/anandaleeke/100144.

Later that morning, I listened to a Heart of Haiti campaign presentation featuring Willa Shalit and two Haitian artisans.  They discussed the powerful work they are doing to create artwork and support Haitian artisans as they rebuild their lives after the January earthquake.  That’s when I fell head of heels in love with their work.

After the presentation, I visited the Heart of Haiti booth in the Blogalicious Exhibitor Hall to learn how I could support the campaign. Lauren Thomas, former digital coordinator with Everywhere, gave me more information about the artwork and campaign.  My conversation with Lauren turned into an interview. Click here to listen: www.cinchcast.com/anandaleeke/100204.

A week after I returned to DC, I received emails from Lauren and the Blogalicious team about a local Heart of Haiti event at Macy’s at Metro Center featuring my favorite Haitian singer Emeline Michel. Visit www.emeline-michel.com.  I decided to attend and invite my dad so he could learn more about the campaign.  We were both impressed with the campaign and collection.  Click here to see photos of  the Heart of Haiti events I have attended: http://www.flickr.com/photos/anandaleeke/sets/72157625478398964.

My dad has become a big fan of the Heart of Haiti collection.  So has my mother! I plan on recruiting other family members, friends, and people who read my blog by serving as an ambassador!

Please support the Heart of Haiti campaign by purchasing a product from the Macy’s collection this holiday season!  See the links below for more information.

Macy’s Heart of Haiti:

http://bit.ly/heartofhaiti
Heart of Haiti on Twitter:  http://twitter.com/heartofhaiti
Heart of Haiti Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/HeartofHaiti
Fair Winds Trading:  http://fairwindstrading.com
Willa Shalit on Twitter: http://twitter.com/willashalit
 
 
 

 

Ananda’s Great News! Her wire sculpture featuring the Haitian love & healing goddess Erzulie will be on exhibit at Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute on March 11-May 24 in NYC

Great News All!

Yesterday I learned my wire sculpture “Erzulie’s Black Heart” will be featured in the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute’s exhibition “Wearing Spirit: Aesthetically Personifying the Feminine in African Sacred Traditions” from March 11 to May 24 in New York City.  The opening reception will be held on March 11 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.  If you are in the Big Apple on March 11, join me at the reception.  It will be BIG FUN!  For more information about the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, visit www.cccadi.org.  Many thanks to Shantrelle Lewis for inviting me to submit my work!

Ananda Leeke's wire sculpture Erzulie's Black Heart

Photo Credit: Leigh Mosley (the greatest photographer in the universe! – www.leighmosley.com)

Below is my artist statement for the exhibition.

Artist Statement

Ananda Leeke’s passion for African goddesses began while she was studying Kemetian and Yoruba religions and writing My Soul Speaks, her first chap book of poetry, in 1992.  In 1995, Leeke began using coat hangers, an assortment of wire, found objects, vintage jewelry, fabric, and amulets to sculpt images of African goddesses including Oshun, Yemanya, Oya, Maat, Auset, and Het Heru.  Over the past fifteen years, she has explored these goddesses in her artwork, writing, and travels to Cuba, Egypt, Ghana, Louisiana, and Senegal.  She discovered Erzulie, the Haitian goddess of love, while writing her debut novel, Love’s Troubadours – Karma: Book One.  Erzulie influenced the lives of many characters in Love’s Troubadours. Erzulie’s veve is incorporated in Love’s Troubadours logo and artwork on the book cover.

Erzulie’s Black Heart is a goddess of love and healing who was born out of the middle passage experience of enslaved Africans in Haiti.  She is a Petwo spirit.  Her love and healing energy are hot, aggressive, and quick to act when the children of Haiti need her.  Her black heart represents a sanctuary for Haitians when they are faced with life’s hardships including poverty, illness, violence, and natural disasters such as hurricanes and the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that occurred on January 12. Erzulie’s Black Heart heals the pain and suffering of Haiti’s sons and daughters. She protects them with the fierce love of a Black warrior woman.  Her intention is to bring the children of Haiti to higher ground.

Thanks for stopping by!

Peace, Creativity, Compassion, and Gratitude for Erzulie, the Haitian goddess of love,

Ananda